A Study of Mine-Related Seismicity in a Deep Longwall Coal Mine
Warren, Justin Cable
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This study involves seismic monitoring of a deep coal mine. The purpose is to examine the processes responsible for induced seismicity. A seismic network consisting of five three-component short-period seismometers located above the mine recorded the seismic data. The events discussed here occurred from March 1, 2009 until April 7, 2011 during the mining of three longwall panels and the data was telemetered to Blacksburg, Virginia. A correlation equation was developed to relate local magnitude estimated by automatic data processing software in near real-time to seismic moment for well-recorded events. Local magnitude is a relative measure of relative size for a suite of earthquakes, while seismic moment is an objective measure of the actual physical size. Using the calculated seismic moments, we calculated "moment magnitudes" (Mw) for all events, which allowed us to do further studies in terms of their absolute size as a function of both time and space. The results indicate that there are two distinct classes of seismic events at the mine. The first class consists of small (M<=0) earthquakes recorded near the moving mine face. The second class of seismicity occurs in the mined-out "gob" area of the longwall panel at a greater distance behind the moving face. Their occurrence and relation to the mining history, depth of overburden and geology of the roof rocks is a significant interest. Results show that thick overburden due to elevated topography has a positive correlation with the number of seismic events but is not the only controlling factor; other factors include gob size and geological variability. Another important observation is the high seismic attenuation of the rock mass above the mine. This appears to be the result of the fracturing and caving processes associated with the creation of the gob and the resulting subsidence of the ground surface.
- Masters Theses